Data encryption blocks access to 7,000 mobile devices, FBI claims

The FBI has admitted that a “huge, huge problem” of data encryption has prevented investigators opening more than half the mobile devices in an 11-month period.

Oct 24, 2017

The FBI has admitted that a “huge, huge problem” of data encryption has prevented investigators opening more than half the mobile devices in an 11-month period. Bureau head Christopher Wray said the agency had not been able to access information on nearly 7,000 locked devices. “There`s a balance that needs to be struck between encryption and the importance of giving us the tools we need to keep the public safe,” the FBI director told the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “Encryption that frustrates forensic investigations will be a fact of life from now on for law enforcement agencies,” Alan Woodward, computer science professor at the University of Surrey, added. “Even if the equipment manufacturers didn`t build in such encryption it would be possible to obtain software that encrypted data in the same way.” In 2016 the FBI asked Apple to help them access an iPhone that had been used by San Bernadino serial killer Syed Rizwan Farook, but the company contested the court order, claiming that its staff would be unable to access the encrypted data. The FBI later gained access to Farook’s phone through a third party firm who had discovered a way to break into the device.

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